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The child would be born to a father who was dead before his sperm fused with an egg. That egg — and the womb in which the child was carried — would belong to women who might not be a part of the child’s life. And it would all happen because of the determination of the child’s grandparents, enabled by the fateful signature of a judge.

In the case in question, a New York judge earlier this month ordered a medical center to save the sperm of Peter Zhu, a 21-year-old cadet at West Point Military Academy who died after a ski accident. His parents sought an emergency court order on March 1, the day his organs were going to be removed for donation, and just a few days after the accident, when their “entire world collapsed,” as they wrote in a petition to the court.

“Peter told us he wanted to have five children, and that his dream was to live on a ranch with his family and raise horses,” Yongmin and Monica Zhu of Concord, Calif., wrote. They added: “We are desperate to have a small piece of Peter that might live on and continue to spread the joy and happiness that Peter brought to all of our lives.”

…continue reading ‘‘They don’t want his story to end’: Efforts to save the sperm of the deceased come with heartache and tough questions’

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